For the second time this week, Bears coach Lovie Smith has sounded an optimistic note when discussing Matt Forte’s ankle injury.
Although Forte was sidelined at practice today, Smith said Forte is “making progress.” Earlier in the week, Smith said reports that Forte’s injury was a high ankle sprain were incorrect, although he didn’t offer any more detail about Forte’s status than that.
Michael Bush is expected to start on Sunday against the Rams, while Forte sits out. Smith said the Bears are confident that they won’t miss much offensively with Bush in the lineup in place of Forte.
“Mike’s a good player,” Smith said. “We said when we brought him in we were bringing in a starting tailback that we added to the mix. For us, it’s the next guy up. Hopefully Matt won’t be out long, but we feel comfortable with Mike while he’s gone.”
Bears defensive end Julius Peppers joined Forte in sitting out Wednesday’s practice, but Peppers’ foot injury is nothing serious, and he’s expected to practice on Thursday.
The Bears’ opponents on Sunday had seven players sit out practice today, most notably starting left tackle Rodger Saffold, who’s dealing with a knee injury, and the man who replaced Saffold at left tackle on Sunday, Wayne Hunter, who hurt his ankle. Rams running back Steven Jackson also sat out with the groin injury that caused him to leave Sunday’s game against the Redskins early.